Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: Ben Laurie <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 19:30:27 +0100 wrote:
> I just don't understand why BSD advocates don't "get" the applicability
> of this to source code, for people just like me (not as a hacker, but
> as a regular joe who happens to find Linux modestly usable), who'd rather
> be safe than sorry, rather have choice than be locked out of the source
> code, rather be able to share with friends than twiddle our thumbs waiting
> for license-checking software to run, and so on.
> My suggestion: don't waste another breath deprecating the value of
> source code to the end user.  Instead, promise end users that you'll
> forever deliver *more* value in the form of BSD'd software, especially
> when it comes in the form of proprietary products *without* source code.

I don't understand why GPL advocates don't understand this simple
proposition: if source is published under BSD you have as much access to
it as you do if it is published under GPL.

The _difference_ is what people can do with it after. With a BSD
licence, they can do what they want, pretty much. With a GPL licence,
what they can do is restricted (in the sense that they must publish
improvements). People who intend to publish improvements are not
affected by the initial choice of licence. People who do not intend to
publish improvements are, and I contend that this means they _will not
improve_ GPLed software. However, it turns out (it seems to me) that
having taken on board the BSDed software and improved it, they discover
that actually it is a good idea to publish it. So, we all benefit. If
they don't - well, I say they wouldn't have done under GPL either, so,
although we don't benefit, we don't lose either.

I absolutely don't understand (or agree with) this view that publishing
something under BSD can somehow lead to it being taken away from me.
How? Show me the mechanism!




"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those
who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the
first group; there was less competition there."
     - Indira Gandhi